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Monday, November 21, 2011

Cauliflower and Health Benefits

Cauliflower is a member of the 'white' family in terms of fruits and vegetables. Included in this group are other natural foods such as bananas, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cauliflower contains allicin, which can improve heart health and reduce the risk of strokes, and selenium, a chemical that works well with Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system. Cauliflower can also help to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.

Folate is also found in cauliflower, which is a B vitamin that is needed for cell growth and replication. For this reason, it is often recommended that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant eat significant amounts of cauliflower in order to help their unborn children develop properly.

Of course, cauliflower is an excellent source of fiber, which helps to improve colon health and can even help prevent cancer. And, most recently, it has been discovered that cauliflower, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, such as brussel sprouts and cabbage, contain indole-3-carbinol, a substance that can affect the metabolism of estrogen in the body, and prevent breast and other female cancers.

Healthy Cauliflower Casserole:

3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 small head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, parsely, oregano
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup  shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese or fat free cheese ( you can use more if you wish)

salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove to a bowl; do not drain the water from the pot. Add the cauliflower to the pot and boil for 5 minutes, or until fork-tender, drain. Place cauliflower in the bowl with the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer on medium speed ,add herbs, broth, sour cream and mix together.
Spoon half of the potato mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with some of the cheese. Saving the most for the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted.